Zeeshan takes six as Pakistan down Nepal in U-19 Asia Cup

Published December 9, 2023
Pakistan players celebrate taking a wicket during the U-19 Asia Cup match against Nepal at the ICC Academy Ground on Friday.—courtesy PCB
Pakistan players celebrate taking a wicket during the U-19 Asia Cup match against Nepal at the ICC Academy Ground on Friday.—courtesy PCB

DUBAI: Pacer Mohammad Zeeshan put up a brilliant show to help Pakistan get off the mark in their U-19 Asia Cup campaign with a seven-wicket drubbing of Nepal at the ICC Academy Ground on Friday.

The right-armer took six wickets as Pakistan bundled Nepal out for 152 after skipper Said Baig opted to bowl first. Pakistan chased down the target with a little more than 23 overs to spare.

Zeeshan gave away just 19 runs, registering the second-best figures at this level for a Pakistan bowler, bested only by Shaheen Shah Afridi who registered 6-15 against Ireland in 2018.

He was supported well by his fellow quicks as left-armer Amir Hassan grabbed two wickets and right-armer Ubaid Shah had one to his name. Left-arm spinner Ali Asfand got a wicket too.

Nepal opener Arjun Kumal contributed 21 from 37, including three fours, and was the only top-order batter to register a score in double digits. before Uttam Magar produced a gritty half-century, hitting 51 from 76 balls including three boundaries and two maximums.

Left-hander Dinesh Kandel, who came to crease after the fifth wicket fell, stitched a 70-run stand with Magar, to help stable the innings.

The partnership was cut short by Zeeshan, who removed Kandel for 31 from 59, including two fours and a six.

Chasing 153, Pakistan stuttered at the start as pacer Gulshan Jha struck twice to dismiss opener Shamyl Hussain and first drop Shahzaib Khan.

But skipper Saad (50 off 56, five fours) and Azan Awais (56 not out off 62, eight fours) batted together to yield a 108-run stand that brought the chase back on track. In the 24th over, Saad was caught off Aakash Tripathi’s bowling.

Zeeshan, who had earlier starred with the ball, then hit a fiery 20 from just eight balls, showcasing two fours and as many sixes as he took Pakistan across the finish line.

Scores in brief:

NEPAL U-19 152 in 47.2 overs (Uttam Magar 51, Dipesh Kandel 31, Arjun Kumal 21; Mohammad Zeeshan 6-19, Amir Hassan 2-15, Ubaid Shah 1-37, Ali Asfand 1-43); PAKISTAN U-19 153-3 in 26.2 overs (Azan Awais 56 not out, Saad Baig 50, Mohammad Zeeshan 20 not out; Gulshan Jha 2-54, Aakash Tripathi 1-8).

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2023

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